“It probably would have been more rebellious if I had become a doctor or something,” Annabelle Dexter-Jones laughs, while discussing her artistic upbringing. As the half-sister of music producer Mark Ronson, designer Charlotte Ronson, DJ Samantha Ronson, sister of musician Alexander Dexter-Jones and daughter of jewelry designer Ann Dexter-Jones, the 30-year-old actress turned writer/director was destined to follow in her family’s creative footsteps. “That was what was normal. I’m actually quite regular in terms of, you know, what goes on within the family.”
“Being able to see my older siblings pursue their passions, and also finding success in that, has always been really inspiring to me,” she continues, then pauses. “It also created a terrible amount of pressure,” she adds with a wry smile.
The first-time filmmaker brings the same refreshing honesty to “Cecile on the Phone,” a comedic 11-minute short film entry at the Sundance Film Festival, shot on 16mm film, about a young woman going through a breakup. “It’s always been a fantasy of mine to direct, but I never thought it would happen so soon,” says Dexter-Jones, who also stars in the film. “I started writing this and was considering having a friend direct it, but I quickly realized that this was a story that I had to tell myself.”
The actress collaborated with her Grammy Award-winning sibling Mark on the film’s theme song while Alexander scored the project. “I’m very close with my family,” she says, “and we’ve always been supportive of each other, no matter what it is that we’re doing, but to be able to work together and create something together was a dream.”
Dexter-Jones will next appear in David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake” with Andrew Garfield and Zosia Mamet. The New Yorker is also fast at work writing a feature film that she hopes to eventually direct. While mum on the details, she says, “It’s not a continuation of ‘Cecile on the Phone,’ but it is the same tone and the same world.”